How to Cope with Minor Illnesses

When the cold season hits, or it's that messy change-of-season time, it's easy to catch minor illnesses. When you come down with the sniffles, the flu, or a cold, make sure you take care of it before it turns into something far worse.


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    Don't do too much. If you know you're sick or feel yourself getting a scratchy throat, don't overwork yourself. Get to bed early that night and wear thick socks to bed.
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    Wear warm clothes. If you still feel sick in the morning, put on a sweater or robe when you get out of bed and put socks on if you slept with your socks off. If you have a fever you don't have to bundle up as much, but you should still wear as much as you feel comfortable with
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    Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue really well to kill any germs in your saliva. Rinse with mouthwash.
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    Use hot water. If you have a cold, wash your face with hot water; for a fever, wash with cold but not too cold.
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    Take a hot bath if you have a cold, and a room-temperature bath if you have a fever.
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    Have a substantial breakfast with the freshest ingredients you have; this means real food like fruit and toast or cereal if you're in a pinch. Whatever you, do don't skip breakfast, unless you feel like you're going to throw up. If you're going to throw up, have a little bit of some bread or similar dough products.
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    Have a hot drink with your breakfast, and make a thermos of some hot liquid to take to work or school.
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    Stock your purse or backpack with the following on-the-go supplies:
    • Halls or other sore throat/cold lozenges;
    • Tissues;
    • A thermos full of hot liquid.
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    Wear the most comfortable clothes you can - at school, you'll probably be allowed to wear a sweater and track pants, but if you have to work in a professional setting then at least wear comfortable shoes.
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    Don't exert yourself too much. Walk slowly and sit down as much as possible.
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    Take short breaks every hour or so. If you work at a desk, put your head in your arms on the desk and close your eyes for a few minutes to refresh yourself.


  • In the end, the only thing that can kill the cold virus is your body's immune system. Your goal for the next few days should be to make yourself as comfortable and rested as possible so your body can do it's work.
  • Tea and broth-based soups are the best liquids to drink when you're sick. Coffee can make you jittery and nauseous. Ginger Ale commonly works, too.
  • If you need to sneeze but you don't have a tissue, sneeze into your armpit instead of your hands to reduce the spread of germs.
  • If you need to sneeze, but don't have a tissue, hold your nose tightly with two fingers. This will reduce the spread of germs greatly.


  • Don't share any food, drinks, or any object that goes in your mouth with other people.
  • If the illness lasts for more than 2 weeks or is accompanied by ear pain, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, rash or muscle aches, see your doctor. It could be a more complicated disease requiring antibiotics.
  • If you're feeling really bad, just stay home. If you force yourself to go to work you'll make yourself more sick and will end up staying home for even longer.
  • Check dosages for all medicine you take, go to for child dosages.
  • If you have a very high fever, take a fever-reducer like Tylenol and then towel yourself off with cool water, especially behind the neck and under arms. This will lower the fever. If the fever does not get lower than 103, then call the doctor
  • Throw dirty tissues into the toilet, or into a paper bag just for this purpose.

Things You'll Need

  • Lozenges
  • Thick socks and sweaters
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Thermos or travel mug
  • Lots of tissues (for example, Kleenex™)

Article Info

Categories: Colds and Viruses